I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
Published by Merit Press on October 16th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Gay, Romance, Young Adult
Format: ARC, digital ARC
Source: the author
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As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems.
Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.
You know those books that are obviously flawed, but you still end up enjoying immensely? An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is one of those books. It wasn’t a perfect book by any means, but it’s the kind of book that’ll bring a smile to your face on a rainy (or sunny) day.
One of the main things that’ll make you smile, of course, is the quirky cast of characters. Archie, Mari, Dante and Sam are all huge gaming geeks, with different and totally distinct personalities. They’re totally diverse physically and in terms of background as well–bonus points!
If there’s one thing they have in common, though, it’s that they’re all realistically portrayed. Each character has their own problems, insecurities, and little things that make them happy. They all have their lives outside of their little gaming circle, lives that they’re not always happy and confident with. But they try really hard to cope.
The best part about them is that they all grew throughout the course of the book. To be honest, at first I wanted to hit most of the characters upside the head at the beginning–Archie and Sam especially were huge assholes–but as we got to know them, I understood them better. They understood themselves better, too.
The characters’ relationship grew along with them, too. At first, it’s pretty obvious that the characters aren’t really close, but after they had their little road trip together, they grew into a pretty tight group of four quirky kids. (Although the romance grew in the opposite direction for me. I liked it more when it was just starting out.)
I did have a few gripes about the book, though. For one, the writing was just a tad too simple for me. Sentence structures hardly had any variation, and it made me feel disconnected from the story at some points. While I knew I understood a lot of what the characters felt, I didn’t feel them myself, you know?
The story was pretty typical, with a bit more charm and less of the “I’ve seen that before” feeling. But the lack of that feeling comes with a price–a few scenes seemed to come out of nowhere and were a bit random. At times, they bordered on unrealistic.
Overall, I’d still recommend An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes for anyone looking for a quick road-trip read about geeks and their geeky relationships.
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